What is a Miranda warning?

Anyone who has watched a police show knows that officers have to give a suspect in their custody Miranda warnings. But what is Miranda and what happens when you aren’t informed of your rights?

Miranda is the shorthand name for a United States Supreme court case, Miranda v. Arizona that decided every person in police custody must be reminded they have the right to remain silent, anything they say will be used against them in court; they have the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with them during interrogation, and if they are indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent them.

Miranda is not a right in and of itself, but a required reminder of the constitutional rights found in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the constitution. When a person is in police custody and is being integrated, asked questions that may lead to an incriminating response, they should first be given a Miranda warning.

If the police fail to provide an individual with a Miranda warning before a custodial integration occurs any incriminating statements the person made, may be suppress or not be admitted into evidence. However, if a person has been warned they have a right to remain silent, but then start speaking, they have waived that right.

Anyone in a custodial interrogation situation should immediately request an attorney and wait silently for their attorney to arrive, otherwise anything they say will be used against them in court.

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